Can You Put Bamboo in Aquarium? (Is It Safe For Fish?)

lucky bamboo in aquarium

If you have an aquarium, you might want to know what you can put in it, and what is safe for fish. For instance, many aquarium keepers like the idea of using bamboo in their tanks.

However, everything that goes into the tank – including aquatic plants – must be confirmed as safe for the organisms therein. Some plants are toxic, and would be destructive to fish. One such toxic plant is the true bamboo plant (which is a non-aquatic plant).

Is Bamboo Safe for Aquariums? If you’re wondering whether bamboo is safe for an aquarium, the answer is no, the true bamboo plant is not. It will decay when put into water. However, a plant called Dracaena Sanderiana, commonly known as “Lucky Bamboo” is safe for an aquarium.

Real Bamboo vs Lucky Bamboo

Can you put lucky bamboo in a fish tank?

Putting true bamboo into an aquarium is a total mistake, because as it decays, it will release ammonia into the water and become toxic to fish.

Lucky bamboo, on the other hand, is more suitable for an aquarium. Despite the fact that it looks a lot like true bamboo, it is entirely different.

Ensure your plants are safe and introduced into your aquarium correctly

Even with the lucky bamboo, you need to be careful how you immerse it into your aquarium. People have differing opinions on if, and how, to put lucky bamboo into a fish tank.

In fact, this is a highly debated topic. The important thing to remember is that, although it’s not harmful for the fish, you need to understand how to immerse lucky bamboo into your tank in the right way.

Some say it is better if the bamboo plant is fully immersed in water, while others argue that it is preferable to have the leaves of the plant raised above the water.

Actually, it is better for the lucky bamboo leaves to be above the water. When the leaves are immersed, the plant will not grow properly and the leaves will start to rot. Eventually, the whole plant will die. If the leaves or stem start to turn yellow, this is a sure sign of decay. When it decays, this is when toxic material gets released into the tank. However, there is every chance that you can revive your lucky bamboo plant – see further down this page.

But if you leave the leaves above the water, then you’re safe. Your best option therefore is to keep your lucky bamboo partially immersed in water, with the leaves sticking out.

Having a bamboo plant in your fish tank makes it look really natural and attractive. Make sure however, that what you have is not real bamboo itself, but the lucky bamboo.

Real bamboo and lucky bamboo are totally different species, but they are easily mistaken. So, you need to be careful, particularly if you’re a new aquarium keeper. Ensure it is Dracaena you have and not real bamboo.

Can bamboo plant grow in just water?

Many people ask if, and how, you can grow bamboo in just water. Yes, you can! Lucky bamboo is propagated by cutting the stem and putting it in just water until new roots grow from the stem.

Depth
The water needs to be quite deep (not too shallow) so that you can plant the lucky bamboo deeply.

Type of Water
Additionally, it has to be fresh water, free from contamination or toxic matter. Using distilled water, filtered water or direct rainwater is perfect.

Some people think that lucky bamboo grows well in water only during the early stages. On the other hand, other people believe that it can grow long enough without the leaves rotting, even if immersed fully in freshwater.

Note that even when grown in just water, you must be careful to keep the water well-aerated with frequent water changes – this will avoid water stagnation.

Lighting
You must also maintain proper lighting in the tank. You’re probably already aware that fish in the aquarium are sensitive to light, and that light levels must be kept low and safe.

Avoid direct sunlight, which could have a negative effect on the lucky bamboo, making it turn yellow.

Fertilizer
You do not need fertilizer to grow your lucky bamboo. This is absolutely unnecessary, because the plant gets naturally fertilized from the fish waste products.

Carbon Dioxide
It is important that there is enough carbon dioxide – although you should equally note that having lucky bamboo in your aquarium doesn’t mean carbon dioxide is converted to oxygen for your fish.

Lucky bamboo does not provide enough oxygen for your fish, unless the whole plant is fully submerged (which is not advisable). It is only then that oxygen can be derived from the leaves within the water.

Many aquarium owners advocate the growing of lucky bamboo in filters. This is a preferable method because, by using a filter, the root is submerged while the leaves are allowed to breathe above the filter line.

Is Bamboo safe for aquarium?

Are Bamboo Plants safe for Betta Fish?

As long as you choose lucky bamboo, then your betta fish should do just fine. Betta fish wouldn’t eat the plant anyway, and as long as the bamboo plants are green and healthy, you need not worry about toxic contaminants.

Lucky bamboo even serves to filter aquarium wastewater. Therefore, as long as you adhere to other details for caring for your betta fish, you should have no problems with enjoying the benefits of lucky bamboo in your aquarium.

Okay, you might actually wonder why you need to have lucky bamboo in your aquarium at all? There’s just so much hype about it – what are the benefits?

Benefits of Bamboo in a Fish Tank

As an aquarium owner, you must understand the need to filter the water consistently to keep it healthy for your fish. There is a method for filtering and changing the fish tank water, which must be meticulously followed if you would like to keep your fish alive and healthy.

Water plants, such as lucky bamboo, are a great way to filter your aquarium, as they collect and feed on fish waste through their roots.

Of course, aquarium fish release ammonia and nitrites into their water. When this accumulates, the water can become harmful. Lucky bamboo is hence beneficial to the aquarium, in that it absorbs ammonia and nitrites.

In fact, nitrogenous elements are super healthy for lucky bamboo, and they serve as a sort of fertilizer for their growth. Thus, lucky bamboo is a great choice for filtering ammonia from your fish tank.

Aside from these valid health benefits, everyone agrees that green water plants, such as the lucky bamboo, make aquariums look more natural and beautiful.

It sure makes the fish tank more homey for your fish. But the tip is to make sure the plants are kept healthy, because when unhealthy they could have an adverse effect on your water organisms.

Yellowing of your lucky bamboo plant. Can it still be saved?

One tip you should know is that even when you make mistakes and your lucky bamboo starts turning yellow, all hope is not lost. Yes, the good news is that there are several ways to revive your dying lucky bamboo.

Actually, the yellow coloration might be due to a number of factors, such as too much fertilizer, chemicals in the water, too much light, incorrect temperature, or an actual disease in the plant.

Give your lucky bamboo the proper care for best results in your aquarium

As stated previously, your lucky bamboo requires no fertilizer to grow. The ammonia and nitrites from the fish are perfect for it, and any external fertilizer might have harsh effects on your plant.

Also, fresh water cannot be compromised. You must change the water in the tank frequently, at least every two weeks. Avoid bright light and make sure that the water is not too hot or too cold.

If your lucky bamboo starts to turn yellow, check for each of these factors, and make any necessary adjustments. Start by changing the water properly, as this is most likely the cause, and there is every chance that your bamboo will return to its healthy state.

You can try re-growing the bamboo plant itself, before reintroducing it into the aquarium. The last thing you should do is ditch the lucky bamboo without even trying to save it.

Finally, now that you know you can introduce lucky bamboo into your aquarium, you must weigh the valid and healthy benefits with your own personal needs.

Some aquarium keepers still warn against introducing lucky bamboo into your aquarium without adequate knowledge on how to manage it – because the risks could far outweigh the benefits if it goes wrong.

Lucky bamboo is great for your aquarium. However, take note of these vital details and tips on growing and maintaining it as a healthy water plant.

Saurabh Kumar

I am a passionate fish keeper, with years of experience. You will find some really useful tips and information on this blog about Freshwater Aquariums.

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